This year was a ride-along. A sidecar. It was also mine. Alone.
It was both.
There are three things I will remember most about this year. One of them is how it feels to be hooked to a comet. How it feels to ride alongside an ascension. Here, let me tell you: the ride ecstatic, full of thrill and pride. Full of I Knew This All Along and Here It Is. It is the most special with a light shined upon it and relishing how it stuns, this accolade avalanche you had anticipated like an apocalypse. But nothing can prepare you for being backstage, the applause on the wider side of the curtain. Behind the red you see its seams, its patches. There are men sweated with rigging, a wire-split palm silk-soaked in blood against it, the boiling chaos of too many duties, needs. All of it wearing on the performer. It’s that yin-yang symbol, an embrace fit of both. The ride is joy and it is helplessness, but you are glad to take it as you could never be anywhere else.
Another thing I will remember about this year is how blind faith works. How all along I didn’t know I had been training for a race I was always meant to run and when I realized I was running it, not knowing if there would ever be an end. Not knowing when and if I ever found that end there would be accolades or a cliff’s edge red-carpeting an abyss for me to fall into. Yet, I ran. Four years. I ran on faith and the beating drum of good friends. It was so hard, you guys. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Running on pure faith, believing in a finish line, in a participation medal—not even a prize, just an end to the punishing test of a journey. I broke down crying the day I snapped that tape. I collapsed in a closet with the weight of it; my hands and knees on the bliss of the pavement. I braced myself for the abyss, but the crowd has gathered around me and all I can hear is applause. I am worn, but I am relieved.
The last thing I will remember about this year is how I found a place that lived inside of me that I never knew existed. It was there all along, covered with a simple cloth. An idiot’s hiding spot. How that place became exposed, challenged. How it continues to be tested. A place plucked from my soul with two hands strong around its neck, lifting it Simba-style until it sat framed in front of the sun. Its not-yet skin tender and scared, but excited in its existence. There is a rebirth in tasting air for the first time, in having that star’s heat sear your layers for the first time. I learned how it feels to be brought back to life, how to look at hard things, how to learn to walk again. This year I have been set upon yet another path and while frightening, I have learned to cling to blind faith in the hope that wherever it takes me will be the way I am meant to go, regardless of what waits at the finish line.